BHADOHI: Opposition Samajwadi Party (SP) MLA Zahid Beg on Wednesday took part in the unveiling of a statue of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, raising eyebrows as he praised the BJP stalwart.
Sporting the traditional red cap associated with the Samajwadi Party (SP), Beg raised the slogan of ”Atalji amar rahein” along with Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Brajesh Pathak.
Questioned by reporters on the ”Ramcharitmanas” row, the SP MLA disassociated himself from the comments on the epic made by party leader Swami Prasad Maurya.
”I feel proud to attend the event. Atalji always talked of uniting people,” Beg said referring to the former prime minister.
Beg, an MLA from Bhadohi City, later clarified that he attended the event as it was organised in his assembly segment and said his raising the slogan should not be given any political meaning.
He added that he had praised Vajpayee, the former prime minister and not the leader of any political party.
”Vajpayeeji was a leader who connected with the hearts of the people and was also the one who united the country. He was not the leader of any party but the country’s prime minister,” he said.
Stressing that the installation of Vajpayee’s statue in his assembly segment is a privilege, Beg said, ”I am an MLA of the SP and have worked under the leadership of Mulayam Singh Yadav first and now Akhilesh Yadav.
”There is no question of my leaving the SP and attending an event organised for a former prime minister should not be viewed from this angle.” When Netaji (Mulayam Singh Yadav) passed away, leaders of all parties, even Baba Ramdev, paid homage to him, he said.
On his ”Atal ji amar rahein” slogan, Beg said it was not just him, the entire nation considers Vajpayee ‘amar (immortal)’.
Beg’s father was a Janata Dal MP in 1989 before switching over to the Samajwadi Party. The family has been associated with the party since then.
On Maurya’s comment on the ”Ramcharitmanas”, Beg said, ”Hum isse sehmat nahi hai (I don’t agree with it).” Maurya, a general secretary in the SP, recently courted controversy after he alleged that certain verses in the ”Ramcharitmanas” — a popular version of the ”Ramayana” penned by Tulsidas — ”insult” a large section of society on the basis of caste and demanded a ban on those passages.
Source: Press Trust of India